English: Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
Synonyms: Kaze no Tani no Naushika
Published: Feb 1982 to Mar 1994
Authors: Miyazaki, Hayao (Story & Art)
Score: 8.961 (scored by 3870 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top manga page.
Popular Tagsaction adventure drama fantasy
May 27, 2009
Nausicaä was written and illustrated by who may be one of the best filmakers of all time, Hayao Miyazaki. That alone should be an incentive enough, but the series itself is monumental.
Taking place thousands of years in the future after all industrial life has come to an end, humanity is desperately trying to cling to life in a dying world where poisonous spores fall from trees daily and most are forced to wear masks. Different countries are always at war with each other, trying to scavenge the last of all resources. People turn to worship of bizarre and diverse gods all over the planet, not knowing where else to turn. A princess of one small village, the Valley of the Wind, fight's for her people's survival among invaders and gigantic, monstrous insects. Over the course of the story, the main character, Nausicaä, grows from an innocent, nature loving girl, one who has been hardened by death and loss, yet still manages to keep her peaceful persona and optimistic view. The story itself, besides the characters, is an adventure. The characters never stop to take a breath, always striving to keep humanity safe (sometimes from itself) and all the creatures of the world. All of this, paired with breath-taking artwork which defies the average manga style, makes Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind one of the most fantastic and epic mangas ever created. read more
Aug 5, 2010
Preceded by: Barefoot Gen (1983)
Followed by: Birth (1984)
NAUSICAA OF THE VALLEY OF THE WIND (1984)
Nausicaa was one of the most engaging films of my childhood. It managed to transmit a lot of messages and feelings within two hours, something that not so many movies can achieve. I knew it was based on a manga made by Miyazaki himself but for many years I didn’t bother looking into it. When I finally did, I came face to face with a work that is indeed ageless. Not something many manga can achieve as well.
For starters, anyone familiar with the movie must be warned that most of the themes found there are present in the manga and only towards the last third does the story have something more to add to the lot by making it a lot more Buddhistic in nature. So if you are not patient with it, you may feel like it’s an unnecessary dragged out version of the movie.
For those who will be willing to follow it to the end, I will inform you that the characters are way more fleshed out and triple in numbers, without even accounting the tens of thousands of stunts. Yes, it’s that epic.
So for the manga itself now, the art is damn good as it both gives the feeling of a fairy tale (a dark one) and still looks artistic and original in a way. The attention he gives to clothes, buildings, and rural areas is indeed wonderful as it manages to absorb you in an alien world in just minutes. For a story this long, the style of animation remains unchanged, without changes in quality or background detail, as it usually happens with manga that took many years to be made and the mangaka was changing style as he went on. That proves how Miyazaki had solidified his style and was sure and consistent with what he wanted to make. A big applause to the man.
Although most sci-fi manga of the 80’s and before had the tendency to make all technological stuff to look like bones or insects, in this case their looks are actually excused since the world really is post-apocalyptic and people make a big part of their equipment out of bones and insect carcasses; thus for once it is excused to look as such.
Facial details are generally low and thus most characters are usually set apart for their clothes. Being black and white does not help either. But this is a rather minor problem most mangaka face so I will not deduct points from it. He still makes up for it by giving them a wonderful body language and lively grimaces. A thing to notice is how characters are most of the time clothed in thick armors or fabrics and that makes them look chubby when in fact they are not. It is a nice way to avoy all those pitfalls of body anatomy. And it still is excused to be as such as the air is polluted and people need to protect their bodies to the fullest. Another thing is how Miyazaki does not go for bijin looks to win impressions. Although most characters look cute, none is given that moe fad of today, which unfortunately ends up making characters look like bag accessories instead of living, breathing people. Also there is no attempt to sexualize females as nude is practically non-present and basically people find it uneasy even when someone is showing bare feet. There is only one page of nude in the whole manga and even that is given so innocently that you can’t have bad ideas about it. They don’t make them like this anymore!
And now we get to the action part of the manga, which in Miyazaki style is a very weird feeling. For starters, all his works seem to mix fairy tales and gore in the same package and the end result is a story where you see cute looking characters being wounded or sliced to pieces by unworldly insectoid freaks. There are also a lot of cute animals as well and as a rule of a thump, you’d expect them to stick around as comic reliefs throughout the story. But no, not even those are spared as most die a miserable and violent death. This is not the first time it has happened; the same treat was given to other works like Elfen Lied. Only thing, Elfen Lied did its best to oversexualize little girls while here it does its best to keep them pure in all cases. And I prefer the latter. Again, in this case Miyazaki makes sure to not implement such gore for piss poor shock effects but as means to show the tragedy of the state of the world the story takes place in. That is not an easy thing to do; believe me. Cheap shock value can easily be removed without damaging the story but here it is essential and a solid part of it. Great work again.
There are a lot of action scenes, as well parts of mass destruction of huge areas by explosions or a raid of freaks and they are all done wonderfully. At first I though Miyazaki was unable to do the same with human figures but I was wrong as there are many panels were hundreds of people are shown attacking or running away. None last too long to get a Lord of the Rings type of battle but they are still powerful enough to show the ability of the mangaka at portraying battles.
Story: 8, Characters: 9
It’s hard to see story and characters separately as this is a character driven story and so I lump them together. So, just like in the manga, it is a story of tragedy around a world ruined by humans a thousand years ago. The survivors still try to rebuild but the folly of war and greed are ever present even after the mistakes of the past. I must point out that many manga and anime have a backdrop story that usually is just fancy dressing of a totally irrelevant plot and characters. But not here as the setting is made and affected by the characters themselves. Every major event that happens is a result of a character doing something and not events that someone pulled out of thin air.
Another thing is the environmental issues of the story. There are many scenarios out there which try to enforce you with a certain politically correct ideology around ecology but here it is done in a most balanced and natural way. Nature punishes man for his errors, even those who are innocent. Plus, striving for balance to return is a process that requires for a lot of creatures to be sacrificed for the good of the whole. That is an image almost no enviromental story has the guts to show. It usually is about nature getting angry with the poachers and then resurrecting the good guys before having a nice party around a campfire. Well not here. If one man makes nature angry, everybody pays dearly for it. And it’s not even punishment, it’s the natural way of restoring the lost balance. Well done Miyazaki, you had the balls to tell things without morality BS getting in the way.
As for the characters themselves, although most feel like archetypes at first, along the way they all mature and change on some way or another. They literaly are not the same people as in the beginning of the story. Plus, as ideal as some of them look at first, all of them make mistakes that end up in the deaths or suffering of many others. And yet they learn for that and become wiser thereafter. Even the so called villains in the story all have understandable motivations and indeed show signs of emotions and gentleness at moments, while none leaves the story completely despicable. Takes a lot of guts and wisdom to do this right and Miyazaki is the one to achieve it.
Now the pacing of the story is a mixed bag. Although most of the events in it are essential to the plot, a lot more (especially the battles) give off the feeling that they could be left out entirely. That leaves you with dozens of pages around action sequences that don’t really offer anything to the story or even to character immersion and makes the manga to drag a bit.
Also, the major mistake of storytelling is present here as well. Most of the times the characters will be stating the obvious, as if the mangaka does not feel sure if the reader understood what is going on. So as much as I liked the maturity of the themes it deals with, I still found a lot of sloppy means to tell them. I could also bitch a bit at how most plot points are presented through rather convenient means, with the characters talking to animals or reading minds or doing long morality monologues just to get fast answers and resolutions. Maybe all that are done because the mangaka wanted to tell a message and not to tell a realistic story but I still found it too naïve at times and my enjoyment was affected by my orthological mind.
Enjoyment: 9, Overall: 10
Although some bits in the way the story unfolded restrained me from fully enjoying this manga, I do admit that in overall it’s amongst the greatest works of the medium and while the movie version does a fine job showing the bulk of its themes, the manga elevates everything to heights unimaginable. This work is suggested to all fans of adventure and drama as one of the best in the field. read more
Aug 3, 2013
Going back to my point on how censorship sometimes limits writers, this argument is completely nullified when reading Nausicaa and my god does it show. Miyazaki pushes the envelope of what he usually does by giving us his most violent story ever. The brutalities of war, limbs flying off, women and children burning, fantastical environments fighting back, etc… He really wanted to show and give us an anti-war and environmentalist message that depicted in an accurate way the horror’s that men can do to themselves and their world. Religion and politics is also a very large topic and theme that Miyazaki delves into. Very controversial stuff that makes you wonder just what exactly is Hayao Miyazaki trying to say here? Nausicaa is a very religious and morally incorruptible figurehead who basically saves the world, humans and animals alike. The people and animals in the manga worship her as a savior and the political leaders view her as a threat, but they eventually learn that she is graceful beyond human comprehension. Is Miyazaki trying to tell us that the world needs religion and a messiah in order for it to be saved? Or maybe does it just need a strong leader that can inspire people? Whatever the case may be it would seem that Miyazaki is much in favor of a socialist world where in which the people are in charge of their own lives. Nausicaa and Kushana are both great inspirational leaders, but they refuse to take long lasting charge of their own populace. They consider themselves equal to everyone and they never believe for a second that they are superior. In fact that is how the manga ends, the world at peace and saved but also left without a ruler. Nature versus nurture is also a subject very much discussed within the story. Miyazaki never really takes a stance for one side but rather finds an equal balance between the two which in turn also shows his views on just how precious life in general is. It’s a fascinating story filled with heart, emotion, and intricate themes which are almost all very well thought out.
One also must ask himself whether Miyazaki was partly inspired by Shakespeare caricatures when he wrote Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. Many of the characters within the story, especially the King’s, are tragic figures that draw many parallels from Shakespeare’s classic works. I would hate to spoil anything but story elements such as brother killing brother to gain power (hamlet) and mad king paranoid of his own children (King Lear) all make an appearance. The Torumekian King actually has three sons and one daughter which is very similar to the tragedy of King Lear where in which Lear has three daughters and one son. It could just be a coincidence, but it is still hard not to notice these similarities. Actually the Torumekian King by the end of the story gets a sort of redemption just like Lear does and he even walks around with his own personal fool who kind of acts like his crazy adviser…actually forget what I said, this can no longer be a coincidence. This is definitely a parallel and homage to the tragedy of King Lear. Nausicaa and Kushana as described previously are head strong religious and political leaders. Nausicaa can definitely be related to a messiah figures such as Jesus or Buddha but with her own unique personality and moral qualities. She even at one point leads someone into the afterlife, if that doesn’t scream religious leader to you then I have no idea what will? Bravery, unwavering in the face of challenges, loving, caring, motherly, and selflessness are all qualities Nausicaa develops throughout the plot and it is fascinating to read. Kushana on the other hand is noble and honorable when dealing with her own people. She exhibits many signs that make her great political leader of men but she is also vengeful, vengeful towards her father and brothers who constantly fight over power. It is Nausicaa’s influence that cleanses the hate away and turns her into the right leader she was born to be. Her gaining that experience towards the becoming of a better person is the reason why she is the most interesting character in the manga. There are also many other interesting sub characters that help Nausicaa on her journey, the prime example being her mentor called Master Yupa. Many of Nausicaa’s teachings and morals came from him and he has many great moments throughout that story. The roles of the many characters within the story are very well handled and defined.
Remember how back in paragraph two I stated at the end how all the themes are “almost” all very well thought out…well this almost comment needs to be brought up since all stories have flaws. The biggest flaw in this manga is the drop in a specific character trait found in Nausicaa, being her uncontrollable rage and battle prowess shown in the first volume. It is as if Miyazaki completely forgot about it and never spoke of it again. One can argue that the inner rage was controlled once she traveled and developed herself as a morally incorruptible leader, and I would have been willing to buy that excuse if there were at least one or two signs of violence exhibited by Nausicaa later on in the plot…which there isn’t. She always does the right choice and violence is never an option she comes across or even thinks about. She always rejects it completely and chooses the non violent method. No display what so ever of inner turmoil about the use of violence. Why bring up that character trait if it is never going to be seen or read of again? If it had been used then it would have made Nausicaa much more interesting. Even under all her moral perfection, even she is not immune to human violent tendencies and instincts. I could see the potential right now. Kuchana learned from Nausicaa how to overcome the path of vengeance and Kushana in turn could have taught Nausicaa how to control her violent instincts. Makes sense since Kushana is a proper warrior and army general. I would expect her to have control and training over her own combat skills. Kushana herself in the story does not get proper closure. She becomes a much better person thanks to Nausicaa but then the story kind of forgets about her and puts her on the sidelines for the ending climax of the series. It is a shame because the ending climax has to do with her father’s redemption (the Torumekian King). The redemption itself could have had much more impact and emotional investment if it involved Kushana in some way. Kushana helping her father see the error of his ways would have been a very rewarding conclusion to all the experience she amassed throughout the story. Instead she is just tossed to the side after volume 5 and becomes a normal sub character.
The art style Miyazaki employs in Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind is very well detailed and beautiful to look at. The fantasy world itself, the creatures, and people are rich with emotion and life. My only problem with the art in the manga is the panel sizes. While the art itself is well detailed, it is sometimes hard to depict what is happening due to how small the images are on the page. It’s like Miyazaki crammed all panels into seven volumes just because he wanted seven and nothing more. I would have welcomed an eighth volume in order to see better what was going on. In order to prove my point even further, the last volume is about 230 pages long which is about 70 or 80 more pages than the average earlier volumes. He really did want seven books for some reason? For symbolism maybe, I have no idea but it does hurt the quality a bit...just a bit.
Whether you agree or not with the morality themes found in Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, it is impossible to deny the intricacies and fantastic execution of the plot. Many if not all characters are likeable in their own way and almost everything including story and themes blend in together thanks to fantastic writing and art. The characters and story do reference to many other works, but the references in and of themselves are unique in their own way. That word “almost” popped up again didn’t it, and yes I did have complaints about the story but one must not let that get to them. This is a definite must read and remember that my 9/10 is really a 10/10 when being compared with anime. The rating scale says a 9/10 is “great” but that is an underestimate because it is more a masterpiece than anything else. No doubt about it.
Sep 18, 2010
The manga version of Nausica was written because couldn't get the funding he needed for am movie that was not based on manga. So in Miyazaki order to make his film he wrote the manga version and after he was able to produce his movie he continued to write the manga for almost a decade after the movie. As such the movie only includes a varied version of the first two volumes.
Ok, so enough background on to the manga. First let me say that i am not a huge fan of the film version of Nausica. I enjoyed it alot but i personally didn't quite connect with it as much as the manga. So if you absolutely loved the movie you will definantly love this or if you are like me i am sure you will still enjoy it.
Story: The story starts off very similar to the movie but then continues to go outside of the valley of the wind and involves other waring countries. That's one of the reasons i liked the manga better is because it explores a lot, lot more of the world that Nausica is based in and gives you much more to connect with. Also i liked the ending of the manga more because there was more of a character antagonist vs a moral antagonist which i felt fit the story better. The ending also had a lot more closure as i thought it wrapped things up nicely and left you satisfied. (Note: dont think that i am just bashing the movie its hard to make a long epic story in just an hour.)
Art: Probably Miyazaki's strongest point is the art. The art was very well done and is pretty much exactly like the movie. Only thing is i wish they did the entire manga in color as the pictures are very detailed and it would help with the descriptions.
Character: Ok, so do you remember the foreign princess Kushana? Well i really hated her in the movie, i really just found her annoying, i know she had a important place in the story but still. The manga really lets her redeem herself which i liked and introduces a lot more characters which were not included in the movie. Also as i said above there is more of a character antagonist which i think helps with the conclusion of the story.
Content: I like to add this part so people know what's going to be in what their reading. The one thing is there is like(ish) three parts that have some nudity and its really short. Also in some parts there is quite a load of blood but nothing over the top. Language i really didn't notice tot much (maybe thats just me). Overall nothing really extreme.
Last thoughts: I personally would have liked to see the story go on in a different direction but thats just me personally and i think Miyazaki did an amazing job of telling the story.
Also I think you should see the movie first before reading the manga because the movie really doesn't extend the story as much as the manga and after reading the manga the movie seems to cut the story short. (As i said before i am not bashing the movie! I just like the manga better!)
So if you haven't seen the movie go watch it even if you are not planning to read this, its a good movie and i think you will enjoy it.
Jun 19, 2013
Though the film is failry good, it does not cover even half of what is depicted in manga. There are a lot of post-apocaliptic series about humankind trying to make ends meet in severe conditions of wreched world. But they are not as deep and moving as this one. Of course, you should keep in mind that bringing up a topic of world's balance, of our race's place in it, is Miyazaki's forte, be it manga or animation.
This series not an easy read, it has a lot of ideological clashes. However in contrast to all the violence and agression we have right now emerging in manga, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind remains a pivotal oasis of its genre. read more